A visual look of happiness from the “popcorn artist” for this year’s Finnish Craft & Design Fair
The visual look of Finland’s largest handicrafts event – the Finnish Craft & Design Fair – changes every year. The event’s website, social media and printed materials have in the past featured graphic deer, natural knits, crocheted wigs, glass art as well as wool.
Chance had a part to play when the planning for this year’s Finnish Craft & Design Fair started over a year ago. This year, the artist Veera Kulju’s ceramic works of art will feature in the overall look of the fair. The result is spectacular, but at the same time delicate, featuring a central theme of four-leaved clover symbolizing happiness. Kulju created this visual look in cooperation with the graphic designer Ilkka Kärkkäinen and the photographer Marko Rantanen. Aerial photography was used to capture digital and analogue images in a large film size.
“This kind of manual shooting was particularly suitable for this project,” notes Veera Kulju.
The artist was found on the pages of a magazine – her own enthusiasm inspired others
“I became interested in Veera Kulju quite by chance, after reading a magazine article. The story in Taito magazine drew my attention to the fact that that Kulju is interested in the idea of weaving clay,” explains Jasmin Saadetdin-Rikkinen, project manager of Finnish Craft & Design Fair, from Tampere Trade Fairs.
The artist appreciated the invitation.
“I was happy to be invited to design this year’s visual look, and Ilkka and I had the honour of cooperating on the final design with the fair organisers. I was drawn to the project because Jasmin’s enthusiasm and her sincere desire to do good inspired me. Jasmin and Tampere Trade Fairs have oozed happiness and friendship throughout the whole process,” Kulju enthuses.
When it was decided that the theme of the fair would be wellbeing, the project manager and the artist decided on the theme of the four-leaved clover. A clover symbolizes happiness that in the handicraft context can be achieved through making things by hand and by supporting domestic handicraft manufacturers and entrepreneurs by purchasing ethically made products.
“I felt it was important that the product I make for the Craft & Design Fair is one that I would be happy to create as an artist. Artistic creation is a solitary occupation, so it is also important to collaborate with others in order to create good things,” Kulju describes.
The works combine ceramics with textiles
Veera Kulju is best known for her popcorn-themed ceramic sculptures. Kulju works with textiles, ceramics and videos and chooses the medium based on the conceptual content of the work, often combining different materials in the same piece. Kulju graduated from Aalto University in 2010 and has since worked as a resident artist in the art department of Arabia in 2017-2019. In January 2019, Sweden’s National Museum of Fine Arts, which opened its doors after years of renovation, has purchased Kulju’s Underwood (2018) for its collections.
Veera Kulju: www.veerakulju.com
Ilkka Kärkkäinen: ilkkakarkkainen.com
Marko Rantanen: www.marko.fi